This is a question often asked of me, and the answer I give is always generally the same:-
I feel that for many people flavoured teas are a form of introduction to the world of tea, and many of us will progress on and become interested – even facinated – by more traditional styles of tea. In a world where everything seems to be sweetened in some way, it’s difficult to go straight from these highly processed, sweetened foods and drinks to a more natural taste. Therefore, if you are introduced to a tea which has the natural sweetness of added fruits, flower petals, scented oils or spices, it’s going to be far easier to enjoy.
Knowing how your teas are being flavoured is important, so always ask your retailer if they can explain how the teas they are selling are being flavoured. Tea companies can use artificial chemical based flavourings, essential oils, or actual products; like pieces of fruit, flower petals, zest of citrus fruits or actual pieces of spice etc. Depending on how your tea is flavoured could be an influencing factor whether you will enjoy the brew or not. Many people complain about unfavourable aftertastes; they sometimes experience from artificial flavourings, and this may put off a future tea drinker even before they have started, whilst others don’t even notice the aftertaste! So the choice of how your tea is flavoured is your decision.
Once we’ve taken those first steps of purchasing, making and enjoying our chosen flavoured tea, the Pandora’s Box of tea is swung open! What follows next for many is an exciting journey through flavour! Settling with the ones we really enjoy and finally ending up appreciating them; may take a little while, but is well worth the journey.
Even though I say that many people move on to more traditional styles of teas; like unflavoured white, green, oolong, black or even Puerh teas. I do think that many of us now and then, have the occasional craving for our special little favourite flavoured tea. For me, a warm sweet cup of masala chai blows me away everytime, and I can’t help putting the pan on the stove to make some, at least once or twice a week. Discovering the pleasures of tea should be exactly that. Taste and smell, and eventually you will have your own tea repertoire to enjoy and share with others.
So what do I think of flavoured teas? Like everything in life, they have their place and should be encouraged instead of being poo-pooed by more traditional tea drinkers. Some of us will enjoy them and move on, others will have found pleasures they didn’t even know excisted and stay with certain flavoured teas forever. After all, we are all quite different and thank God, because life would be a very boring place if we were all the same!
Enjoy your tea!
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